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Ford Explorer Transmission Questions



  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 801
    My mom has a 2007 Eddie Bauer 2WD V6 that is having the same problem. It has 118k miles on it, so there's no hope of any warranty repairs. But I've seem references to several TSBs that mentioned this and the recommended fix was to 'reprogram/reset the PCM" which hasn't been done. Is that something that a reputable independent repair shop could do or is the dealer my only option?

    If I can't get this issue taken care of, I told her (mom) that I'm selling it! It has been nothing but trouble since she got it. The A/C compressor locked up last year and the dealer said it would cost anywhere from $1900 to $2300+ to replace it. I tracked down a new compressor from a Ford dealer who sells parts online and managed to haggle them down almost 20% for the compressor, evaporator (if I'm not mistaken....either that or a condenser), new lines and the A/C belt for $800 shipped. My dad's mechanic installed it for $300 including the refrigerant so it was repaired for $1100.

    During an oil change, at least a year ago, the mechanic discovered a small leak in the radiator. He poured some product in with the coolant that works like "Fix-a-flat"' for radiators, as he put it. It has been more than a year and still holding, but it's past due for a coolant change and I've been putting it off with the intention of replacing the radiator at the same time. Ford's price for the radiator (just the part) is over $300. I've found several from other sources that are in the $160-$180 range and come with a 2yr/24k warranty. There are a few as cheap as $120, but I'm not familar with the vendors and they don't have a thanks.

    If you haven't already figured this out, for some reason I'm the one who has to take care of my mom's vehicle dad is too nice for his own good, I'm not! =/

    The most frustrating thing is how reliable her previous Explorer was and continues to be. She had a 2003 XLT 4WD V6 and my sister bought it when mom got the EB in May 2008. The '03 recently hit 170k miles and still runs like a champ and has never needed more than regular maintenance.

    Speaking of regular maintenance, the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual doesn't require a transmission fluid/filter change until 150k...I've never known of a vehicle that went more than 50k between fluid changes. 150k seems ike a lot of miles for the fluid to perform properly, but I could just be stuck in the 90s in that regard....has anyone changed theirs more frequently?
    2015.5 Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum, 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I've owned 9 Explorers since 1997, and still have an 03 with 130,000 miles on it and an 07. Had one, an 04 with a bad transmission almost out of the gate, it was replaced 2 times by the dealer. Sold it to a friend who is still having transmission trouble with it. The rest have been totally bullet proof. Every once in a while, no matter what you drive, you can get a dud. Anyway, to answer your question, I always have the dealer flush and service the transmission every 30,000 miles. They almost last forever that way, except the 04.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,735
    30k flushes did not work for my '02. Tranny out @ 89k.
    3500 for a new one.
    When the going gets tough, it's still my first choice.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    When the going gets tough, it's still my first choice.

    Mine too, obviously. Anxious to try out the new one, and see if it can still tow.

    My 02 gave me a lot more trouble than my 03, which is still running with 130,000 on the clock. I've heard that 03 was a great year for Explorers as far as reliability was concerned. I have no idea why.
  • jmathis555jmathis555 Posts: 4
    edited February 2011
    I definitely haven't heard the '03 Explorer was any better than the 2002. I always thought they were identical (at least in terms of engine/transmission/etc)? gave both years an Avoid Like The Plague rating.

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,735
    '02 was the first year, so some things were probably figured out by '03.
    I know there was some kind of transmission snafu in '04 or '05.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Yeah, I had that lovely transmission snafu in my 04. It turned out to be sabotage in the transmission factory. Somebody shipped the incorrect transmission fluid to the factory, and the initial fill of the transmissions was of the incorrect fluid, which caused an early failure in most of them. I took mine in early for a additive that was supposed to make the bad fluid good, but it didn't work. Mine was too far gone already. They replaced it, but the replacement went bad also, so they replaced it again. I then sold the truck to my friend while it was still under warranty. It has failed yet again. It's never going to be right. He still has it. Meanwhile, my 03 is still running strong.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    So how did the "incorrect" ATF get into those next two transmissions..??
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Really good question, but I don't think it did. I think the damage was done to that transmission by the initial fill, and rebuilding the valve body and reflashing was not sufficient to repair it. That's just a theory, it could be they had a batch of bad transmissions that year from France (where they were built), and the fluid thing was incorrect, although it was pretty well documented at the time. As I think I stated earlier, I had a good 2002, 2003, then got the badf 2004, and the 2006 was also a bit screwed up, so rather than repeat that experience of the 2004, I traded the 06 on an 07, which I still have, and has been excellent in every way. So, I don't know for sure. Each time they fixed the transmission for me, always under warranty, it was fine, but shortly started malfunctioning again. Cars like that, I often find just are never right, and I push them down the road. Some people never buy another of that brand after experiences like that, but the Explorer is just such a great design with those 3rd row seats that fold into the floor, the independent rear suspension that really cushions the ride, and the superior engine technology, I keep buying them. Some other brands have started copying them, but Ford had it way first in that class. We'll see what I think of the 2011, I'm a bit skeptical right now. I like the ruggedness of the old design.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,735
    My '02 has had it's share of issues that have cost me some money, but I still enjoy driving it every time i do.
    It drives well, sounds good and has a good sound system.
    It's also my kids first choice for the above reasons.
    I filled up my AWD Fusion about 3 weeks ago and have driven it about 60 miles since then.
    Pretty much drive the Explorer every day.
    Our weather has been pretty bad for the last month or more, so why use your second best tool for the job?
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I agree, my 02 was a good one as well.
  • gorskigorski Posts: 1
    i got a 97 explorer and the tranny tonight was work fine i turned it around and switch it from 4 low to 4 high the light changed and i put it drive and hread a bang sound and then couldnt start my truck off in drive i had to start it in 2 gear then shift up to drive and i wouldnt start in 1 gear either only 2 gear i just need help to figure out what is wrong to i cant my some informed disicions thanks.
  • nyhtmarenyhtmare Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Sport trac and it has an annoying habit of slipping out of gear (No matter what the RPM, speed, weather or elevation... Yes ive monitored it that close) it will randomly drop out of gear for a split second and send my RPM's sky high. Sometimes itll make my truck buck a bit because the truck cant figure out what to do seemingly. Then itll all go away leaving behind a code for something to do with my fuel rail pressure sensor. Which the Ford techs cannot replicate to save their lives. I dont know if this is something like anybody else has been experiencing maybe?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Sounds like you broke a band in there to me. You need to have it looked at. At the least, you have possibly broken a shift motor for the 4WD.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    In my experience, you may be low on fluid. There is no dipstick or add tube on that truck, so you'll have to have somebody look at it from under the truck, and if it's low, they can top it off and it may fix your problem. If you have 50,000 miles on the truck, and haven't had the transmission serviced yet, have them do that. If that doesn't do the trick, you could have a valve problem in there, or a programming problem. It may need to be flashed by the dealer. That may do it. Thirdly, and sadly, 04 was a bad year for Explorer transmissions, and many of them failed due to some sabotage at the factory that year. If you have one of those, sell the car, it's going to likely be chronic problems from here on out. I had an 04, so I know. It's the only bad Explorer I have had, out of 7 of them. And it was all transmission related.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    ATF overfill or more likely low.
  • whiteonewhiteone Posts: 1
    I have an 98 explorer. Transmission went bad in it. Can any other tranny fit in it?? It is an 6.0 sohc, 4wd. Please help
  • chixy5chixy5 Posts: 2
    Hello, I am new to this forum. I have a 2002 ford explorer with a 4.0, V6 engine. When driving the OD light starts flashing after some stop and move circle and continues through out the trip. The transmisson dosen't shift to the 4th gear until I take my foot off the gas after doing above 3000rpm for some seconds. Sometimes it would shift to the 4th gear with a screeching noise on the back wheels and a jolt, this occurs on long trips.
    When I turn of the engine and starts it back again the OD light won't flash until I drive for a while.
    I know this model has transmission problems but could this be fixed. My check engine light is on and the oil level is ok. What could be the problem.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    A flashing OD light on these cars means your transmission is malfunctioning, and it's terminal. Your transmission will need a rebuild or a replacement very soon, or it will leave you stuck somewhere. It can't be fixed easily or any other way. Sorry for the bad news.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Actually that transmission might last for another 100,000 miles if you simply disable OD.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 13,735
    Once the transmission heats up, the light starts flashing.
    Mine did that and I had the trans replaced.
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2017 Ford F-150 Limited
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The light also flashes if the torque converter lockup clutch is slipping, not fully functional. Disable it and lose a few MPG but otherwise..
  • quentensquentens Posts: 1
    would you be able to pump a sufficient amount of fluid out of the dipstick tube so i dont have to drop the pan?
  • meme17meme17 Posts: 1
    I have a 2007 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer that turned 4 years old last month. It had 63,000 miles on it when I brought it in the first time for hard shifting of the transmission, couldn't get a domputer code and recommended a computer upgrade which we did. Problem continued and worsened. Brought it back the second time and still no code on the computer and recommended a transmission flush which we did and still no improvement and in fact got worse...running through gas....RPMs all over the place....shifting banging. Brought it in the third time and now its a $1200 selanoid pac for the transmission. I have been fighting with Ford for weeks about it being a defective part since I only use it on the highway to go back and forth to work...NEVER even towed a thing except some grocery bags from Shop Rite. Anyway, after weeks of chasing "supervisors" on the phone it comes down to they will not stand by their product and we are stuck paying. I'm furious and WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FORD. I just dropped the truck off at the dealership with a sign on the back letting all potential customers know of transmission problems at a couple thousand miles over warranty. Next, onto the local newspaper editorials. Everyone needs to know that this car maker will not stand by it's defective $35,000 product!!!!! DO NOT LET ANYONE BUY A FORD PEOPLE.
  • pheislerpheisler Posts: 6
    My old (1992) Explorer with 109,000 miles on it starts to vibrate when it shifts into overdrive. I assume it's the torque converter clutch slipping. Think it's worth repairing? It runs ok, shifts ok, except for the shudder after shifting into fourth. I've been driving it with this vibration for quite a while. Don't know if I could be causing more damage by driving it in fourth on the highway. Another issue: when engaging the 4-wheel drive, there is a clunking sound, which the owner's manual says is normal, except that the clunking continues as long as it's in 4-wheel mode. Any ideas as to why it's doing this? Thanks for your help.
  • 2bennett2bennett Posts: 1
    I am looking for any ideas I can find on a solution for this. I have a 2007 V6 Explorer Eddie Bauer with 140,000 miles. My transmission died recently, so I had it rebuilt. Ever since I got it back, I have had intermittent problems with the transmission going into reverse or first gear. It only happens one out of every 4 or 5 times. When I put it into gear, I have to rev the engine a lot just to get it to move a little. Finally, it will kick into gear.

    The valve body has been replaced twice since the transmission was rebuilt a little over a month ago, and i am still haveing the same probelm. the repair shop has been great. They thought they might have been getting a bad batch of valve bodies, so they used a different supplier last time. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the problem.

    Any ideas on what the problem could be?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Don't do it that way. But first of all, what year are we talking about? Because, many of the newer transmissions do not have a fill tube or dipstick. Assuming yours does, disconnect one of the transmission lines from the radiator, and put a hose on it that points downward to your collection pail. Start the engine and begin pouring fluid down the fill tube, it will pump the old stuff out the hose on the bottom. When the color changes on the discharge tube to the red color of what you're putting in, you have changed all the fluid. But now, what are going to do about the filter?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I really hate saying this, because I love my explorers, and have had 7 of 'em. However, I have had 2 with bad transmissions, an 04 and an 06. I have never been successful at getting them to run right once they go bad. I can't tell you why, the dealers have tried and tried, all under warranty. No luck. Eventually, just sold the cars and got another one.

    One may ask, why do I keep buying them? Because, they are engineered so well, are tough as nails, and generally are pretty bullet proof. The 07 I have now, is great.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You might be in for a BIG surprise with the new Explorer/Taurus X/FreeStyle.
  • NEED HELP! 1998 ford explorer sport SOHC V6 4.0L: i have recently change my transmission fluid, filter and gasket. now im having slipping on all gears. i ask the dealership and they said that changing the transmission fluid at over 100k miles would cause some problem because the old oil is whats keeping the components together.
    so after changing the transmission, i took it for a test drive and it would engage in gear. so i warmed up the car and after a few minutes i took it for a another test drive and it was good. three days later i took it again to drive a it started slipping. it wouldn't even stay in drive. its like its having a hard time engaging.

    anybody out there that can help me
    thank you for your time.
    my email is
    [email protected]
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